Mining
1:25 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Northwest Silver Mines To Remain Under Separate Ownership

Two of the most productive silver mines in the Northwest will remain under separate ownership after several weeks of corporate wrangling.

Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla Mining had attempted to take over U.S. Silver through all-cash buyout offer to shareholders. But U.S. Silver of Toronto rebuffed the plan and is poised to merge with another Canadian mining company.

The maneuvering comes as a metal once known for its use in jewelry is in high demand as an industrial ingredient of electronics.

Hecla President Phil Baker told investors on a conference call Tuesday morning that the failed offer was aimed at acquiring U.S. Silver’s Galena Mine in north Idaho.

“The Galena is a mine is a mine that we know well," Baker said.   "We viewed it as a property that we could over time improve. We also believe in the long term in silver, the demand for silver and the price for silver. So, it was all of those factors.”

Hecla’s own silver production was set back this year. Federal mine regulators ordered major safety improvements at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho following two fatalities in 2011.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network